Immigration Flows

Despite recent changes, Canada’s immigration policy remains a ‘mass immigration’ policy; yearly inflows have been consistently above the 200,000 mark since 1990, [1] the equivalent of 0.7-0.9 percent of the total population. After reaching a postwar record of 280,691 new permanent residents in 2010, 248,748 were admitted in 2011.

Queue at a foodtruck in downtown Vancouver. (© picture alliance / landov)

Total Permanent Residents per Year (© bpb)

Admissions policy for permanent residents aims to "manage the mix" of economic immigrants, family class immigrations, and refugees. In 2011 that ratio was approximately 66 percent, 20 percent, and 12 percent, respectively, although one must bear in mind that the figures for economic immigrants include their accompanying family members. A significant number of people also obtain permanent residence in the category of "other immigrants", which includes retirees, persons with deferred removal orders and so-called "humanitarian and compassionate cases" (i.e. persons accepted for permanent residence by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada for humanitarian or public policy reasons). The Figure below shows a breakdown of the admissions from 1987 to 2011 by category.

Inflow of Permanent Residents by Category (© bpb)

In addition to the abovementioned inflow of permanent residents, Canada welcomes an even higher number of temporary residents each year. Since 2002, Canada has admitted between 300,000 and 400,000 temporary residents per year, including foreign workers, students, refugee claimants, and visitors. From 2006 to 2011 (with the exception of 2010), the number of temporary foreign workers exceeded the number of principal applicants admitted each year as permanent residents in the economic class.

Inflow of Temporary Residents by Category (© bpb)

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This is with the exception of the years 1997 and 1998, when the total was slightly below that mark.

Jennifer Elrick

About the author

Jennifer Elrick

Jennifer Elrick is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on family-related immigration policies in Canada and Germany since 1945. jennifer.elrick@mail.utoronto.ca

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